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NHSE national director announces immediate departure

Published on: 13 Apr 2023

NHS England’s interim director of primary care has announced that she is standing down tomorrow after just over a year in post.

Writing in NHSE’s primary care bulletin, Ursula Montgomery said: ”I would like to share some personal news - I will be leaving my role as director of primary care on 14 April 2023. Thank you to so many of you who have shared with me your frontline experiences, challenges and ideas for transformation to improve care for patients during my 2.5 years at NHS England.”

Dr Montgomery’s exit comes ahead of the expected publication of the government’s primary care recovery plan, which has been in development for about six months. 

NHSE is in the process of putting in place interim arrangements for the role, HSJ understands, but it has not yet finalised how primary care leadership will be organised in its new longer-term structure.

The interim national director joined NHSE in October 2020 as a senior clinical advisor on primary care transformation. She became the interim director of primary care in February 2022, after substantive director Ed Waller moved to become deputy chief financial officer for strategic finance. 

Before joining NHSE, Dr Montgomery worked as a GP in Leicestershire. She was an associate medical director of University Hospitals of Leicester Trust for three years until 2018, before becoming the clinical chair of East Leicestershire & Rutland clinical commissioning group until 2020.

NHSE has recently begun the long-heralded drive to cut its workforce by up to 40 per cent, and around 1,000 staff are due to leave as part of a voluntary redundancy scheme. NHSE did not comment in time for publication on its plans for the director of primary care role, and whether Ms Montgomery’s departure is part of its restructure.

A GP contract for 2023-24 was imposed last month after talks with the British Medical Association broke down; while plans for a new five-year framework deal are at an early stage.